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Sunday, August 19, 2007 on ESPN

Top 10 Countdown to Race Weekend
10 - Of the drivers in the top 10 of the point standings, seven have won at Michigan International Speedway either in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup or Busch Series. Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth, Tony Stewart, and Carl Edwards all have visited Gatorade Victory Lane in the NEXTEL Cup Series at MIS, while Jeff Burton, Kyle Busch, and Kevin Harvick have won in the Busch Series. Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson, and Clint Bowyer have yet to win on the two-mile oval, but they will have their chance during the CARFAX 250 Busch Series race on Saturday, Aug. 18 and the 3M Performance 400 NEXTEL Cup Series race on Sunday, Aug. 19..
9 - Kasey Kahne, Driver of the No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge for Gillett Evernham Motorsports has experienced above average success at MIS. In seven NEXTEL Cup starts here the 27-year-old driver has one win, which came in the inaugural 3M Performance 400 last June, and four top-five finishes. His worst finish on the two-mile oval came during this June's Citizens Bank 400 when he finished 32nd.
8 - Mark Martin has led eight races in the Busch Series at Michigan International Speedway, the most of any driver. During those eight races Martin has led 304 laps, which coincidentally is also the most of any driver. The veteran has captured two Busch Series wins here (8/93; 8/95) and in his nine starts has finished in the top five every time except 1997 and 1998 when he finished 11th and sixth, respectively. Martin is scheduled to race in the CARFAX 250, so prepare to see him in the top five, if not in Gatorade Victory Lane.
7 - In June's Citizens Bank 400, seven Chevrolets finished in the top 10, the most since June of 1984 when seven Chevrolets finished in the top 10 as well. The August race which followed in 1984 was won by a Chevrolet, the Budweiser Chevrolet driven by Darrell Waltrip. If history repeats itself, Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet, could capture his first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup win at MIS in the 3M Performance 400. In his last three NEXTEL Cup races here Earnhardt Jr. hasn't finished worse than sixth. NASCAR's most popular driver has visited Gatorade Victory Lane at MIS twice in the Busch Series, once in 1999 and most recently in last year's CARFAX 250.
6 - Roush Fenway Racing has won six of the last 11 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races (Carl Edwards 6/07; Matt Kenseth 8/06; Greg Biffle 6/05, 8/04; Kurt Busch 6/03; Kenseth 6/02). If one of the five Roush Fenway drivers wins the 3M Performance 400, the team will tie the Wood Brothers for the most NEXTEL Cup Series wins on the two-mile oval at 11.
5 - Jeff Gordon's drive for five stops at Michigan for the 3M Performance 400. The driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports has been having a championship season. As of the August Pocono race Gordon has 14 top-five and 19 top-10 finishes as well as four wins this season. Nearly 400 points separate first place Gordon from second place Denny Hamlin in the driver point standings. Gordon will likely continue to put distance between himself and second place at MIS, because in 29 NEXTEL Cup starts he has 20 top-10 finishes, 15 of which he placed fifth or better. Gordon has also captured two victories on the two-mile oval, both of which came in years he went on to win the series championship ('98 & '01).
4 - Four of the last five Busch Series races at MIS have been won by a then full-time NEXTEL Cup Series driver (Dale Earnhardt Jr. 8/06; Ryan Newman 8/05; Kevin Harvick 8/03; Michael Waltrip 8/02). NEXTEL Cup Series regulars enjoy running on the two-mile oval, and in last year's CARFAX 250 the top 10 was comprised solely of NEXTEL Cup regulars with just three non-Cup regulars in the top 20.
3 - This weekend will mark the second NEXTEL Cup race sponsored by 3M. The Minnesota based company will be the title sponsor for the 3M Performance 400 on Sunday, Aug. 19 and will also sponsor the second annual 3M Car Care Auto Fair in the AAA Motorsports Fan Plaza. The company's sponsorship doesn't end there, as 3M will also sponsor two Roush Fenway Racing drivers, Greg Biffle in the No. 16 3M car in the 3M Performance 400 and Todd Kluever in the No. 16 3M car in the CARFAX 250 Busch Series event on Saturday, Aug. 18.
2 - Two of the biggest stars of NASCAR, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Carl Edwards, rubbed each other the wrong way in the closing laps of last year's CARFAX 250 Busch Series race. Under a green-white-checkered scenario, Earnhardt ran into the back of leader Edwards, causing the Roush Fenway driver to spin out, which in turn allowed for the yellow flag to fall and the race to end with Earnhardt at the front of the field. With cars still on the track, Edwards left pit road and ran into the side of Earnhardt's Chevrolet, but he didn't stop there. Frustrated and disappointed, Edwards confronted Earnhardt in Gatorade Victory Lane, and the two drivers agreed to disagree on what occurred on the track. The win gave Earnhardt his second in the Busch Series at MIS, but it was Edwards who had the last laugh, at least for now, as he took home the trophy for the Citizens Bank 400 in June.
1 - Martin Truex Jr., driver of the No. 1 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Chevrolet for Dale Earnhardt Inc., hasn't been in a "sophomore slump" during his second season of full-time NEXTEL Cup Series competition. Currently in 11th place in the point standings, Truex has seven top-10 finishes this season with his first NEXTEL Cup victory coming at Dover in June. The 27-year-old driver finished second to Carl Edwards in the June 17 Citizens Bank 400, his best finish at MIS in any series.
As we count down the days, here are 10 facts, one for each day, as the beginning of the MIS race season quickly approaches.
Source: Michigan International Speedway


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